Monday, May 4, 2009

Quick Follow Up

In the previous post (please read), I meant to write something about Rajon Rondo and walking the dog, in regards to the Magic-Celtics Game 1. As it turns out, though, Henry Abbot beat me to it, and wrote it much better than I would have:

Rafer Alston made, honestly, one of the most fascinating and exciting plays of the year with about 3:23 left in the game. After a Dwight Howard free throw, the Magic were up a dozen. Perhaps the game would soon be out of reach. 

With a stopped clock, Rondo had the opportunity to save some precious seconds. The clock wouldn't start until he touched the ball. So he didn't, letting it bounce up the court.

This is sometimes called walking the dog.

Alston gave Rondo room ... to a point. But as Dwight Howard ran by, Alston hid behind him a bit and then ... POUNCED FOR THE KILL. Just launched his body fully horizontal, like a jaguar, diving cleanly between Rondo and that ball. 

If Rondo walked the dog, and Alston was a dog assassin.

Just so ballsy and strategic. It was a risky play by Alston, and bizarre and creative. But justified, as it worked.

But then he was lying on the floor, more or less on the ball, while Mr. Big Active Hands Rajon Rondo began to work him over. Alston's teammates didn't know what was up, and didn't rush to make themselves targets for an Alston pass. Within a couple of seconds, Rondo not only had the ball back, but he then fired a strike to Brian Scalabrine, who was wide open for a game-changing 3.

The one thing that the Magic got out of it, however, was that they had at least made Rondo think twice about where he walks his dog. Right?

Wrong.

In the game's closing seconds, Rondo showed all of his indomitability, by making history for quite probably the longest dog walk ever in NBA play. He escorted the ball, untouched, three-quarters of the length of the court, before plucking it up at the 3-point line and firing. A hero for doing that. And a flawed one, for missing as badly as he did.

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